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The first US COVID-19 vaccines have begun. Where you stand in line and how long you could wait


Coronavirus vaccines are just around the corner, but most people probably won̵

7;t be able to get them until well into 2021.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Visit the WHO website for the most current news and information about the coronavirus pandemic.

Health workers and nursing home residents in New York are now among the first in the US to start receiving the coronavirus vaccine after the Food and Drug Administration authorized the first vaccination for emergency use. The vaccine, a formula created by Pfizer and BioNTech, has begun the rollout with an extremely limited number of doses, meaning relatively few Americans will receive coronavirus immunizations in the remaining days of 2020.

So who is first in line for first COVID-19 vaccine doses and how long does it take to get your turn? The unfortunate reality is that most people in the US will have to wait at least several months before potentially having access to a coronavirus vaccine. Even worse, it could be a matter of years before everyone in the world can get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Here’s what we know about the coronavirus vaccine rollout so far and where you might be on the priority list. (And here it is how much you would expect to pay for your COVID-19 vaccine.) This article was recently updated with new information and is intended as a general overview and not a source of medical advice.

read more: How coronavirus mRNA vaccines could end the pandemic and change vaccines forever


Even after coronavirus vaccines are approved, people will have to continue to wear masks and take other preventive measures for the coming months.

Angela Lang / CNET

How many doses of COVID-19 vaccine will we receive?

There are over 330 million people in the US, however Pfizer says it expects to send the US 25 million doses by the end of 2020, or enough to vaccinate about 12.5 million Americans, as each recipient needs two doses. That’s roughly the populations of New York City and Los Angeles combined. Moderna, which one similar type of vaccine to Pfizer, says it will initially be able to make about 15 million vaccine doses, which can treat 7.5 million people (again, two injections per person).

Senior US government officials could be vaccinated within days

On Sunday, a top US official said in a statement that senior officials in Washington will be among the first to be vaccinated. “Senior officials in all three branches of government will receive vaccinations based on the continuity of government protocols enshrined in executive policies,” said John Ullyot, a national security spokesman, according to CNBC.

“People working in the White House should get the vaccine a little later in the program unless specifically needed,” President Donald Trump’s Twitter account tweeted hours later. “I am not scheduled to take the vaccine, but I look forward to doing it at the right time.”

White House executives have been told “they would soon be getting injections of the coronavirus vaccine,” The New York Times reported Monday, citing two sources.

Health workers, nursing home workers and residents

Primary health professionals at particular risk of being exposed to coronavirus, including the approximately 20 million U.S. doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, EMT and hospital personnel, will top the list, according to recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Employees and residents of long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, must also be part of the first batch of vaccinations according to the guidelines.

Ultimately, the decision about who gets the first dibs from a COVID-19 vaccine belongs to state governors in consultation with their own public health experts, but states typically follow CDC guidelines, The New York Times reported.


Life probably won’t return to normal until the end of 2021 or at the earliest 2022, which could mean regular temperature checks until the coronavirus is no longer a threat.

Angela Lang / CNET

Essential workers, older adults, and those with medical conditions are the following

The next priority level for coronavirus vaccinations includes the following groups.

Essential employees: About 87 million American workers provide the basic goods and services we need to survive. Most cannot work from home and many jobs require interaction with the public, so protecting against COVID-19 among this population would have a ripple effect across the country while reducing critical service interruptions.

People with underlying medical conditions: In particular, the approximately 100 million people with conditions that put them at high risk of illness or death from COVID-19. Any disease that affects the lungs, as well as anything that could compromise a person’s immune system, such as cancer or HIV, would be included.

Older adults: It is generally accepted that the risk of serious complications from COVID-19 increases with age. The ACIP recommends that the approximately 53 million American adults ages 65 and older be among the first to be vaccinated.


Some vaccines require more than one dose to be effective.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Where do everyone else fall in line?

The reality is you have to wait. America’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told Good Morning America in November that he expects “the commoner” should be able to receive a vaccine in April, May or June 2021.

The first vaccines may be ready for the general population as early as late February or March, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told NBC on Dec. 14.

In the meantime, you are still expected to adhere to pandemic safety practices such as wearing universal masks, avoiding crowds, maintaining social distance, and washing our hands even more than usual. That includes everyone; both vaccinated and unvaccinated (keep reading to learn more about what to expect).

When can children be vaccinated?

Pfizer’s vaccine is approved for emergency use for people 16 years of age and older. Children under the age of 16 are not eligible for vaccination at this stage. You can read more about it children and the COVID-19 vaccine here.

Now that the vaccines are here, when can we get back to normal life?

The number of infections in the US is skyrocketing, with the seven-day moving average now more than 223,000 new infections per day, according to the COVID Tracking Project, and nearly 300,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

One of the President-elect’s chief advisers Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Task ForceDr. Michael Osterholm, has recommended a nationwide lockdown in the US for four to six weeks to help contain the rapidly spreading virus, although Trump said in November that there would be no lockdown under his administration.

Experts agree that people who leave their homes should continue to wear masks, avoid crowds, maintain social distance and wash their hands regularly until further notice.

Whether or not COVID-19 vaccines are effective in stopping the spread of the coronavirus depends a lot on how our bodies build up immunity to the disease. Here’s what we know so far if you can do it get COVID-19 more than once. Testing is also key to slowing the spread of the coronavirus – learn more about a device that can produce COVID-19 test results in less than 90 minutes. And learn how all these issues and more affect Biden’s plan to fight COVID-19.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care practitioner if you have any questions about a medical condition or health goals.

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